Live moss as a permanent top dressing

Discussion in 'Slipper Orchid Culture' started by Meagan Myers, Aug 14, 2019.

Slippertalk Orchid Forum

Help Support Slippertalk Orchid Forum:

  1. Aug 14, 2019 #1

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi there! My first post here.
    So here is the situation. I am finally getting an office with a window! I'm very excited I would like to set up some paphs and phals on the windowsill. Because it's my office (and not my window at home) I would like to snazz them up a little bit and have it not too much like a greenhouse. Because of the office situation and not my kitchen window, I will be top watering with a watering can. I will be able to take them to the lab and flush them out very occasionally. I have purchased some long window trays and will fill those with gravel. I've started to collect small pots with drainage holes for the orchids. Im a notorious underwater so I was considering adding a top dressing of moss to the phals and paphs to help retain some moisture. May even throw an air plant or two on some to jazz it up

    At first I was considering just New Zealand sphagnum moss, but now through a little bit of reading I see live moss might be a good option as well. Do any of you guys use live moss as a top dressing year around for paphs? I'm not sure if live moss year around would be a good option for phals as well, or should stick to sphagnum?

    Appreciate it!!
     
  2. Aug 14, 2019 #2

    Ray

    Ray

    Ray

    Orchid Iconoclast

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,203
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    I did the same thing many years ago.

    There is nothing wrong with live moss, but I suggest you get it established on top of the medium a long time before taking it to the office. The just isn't sufficient humidity (your trays add nothing) otherwise.
     
    Meagan Myers likes this.
  3. Aug 14, 2019 #3

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hmm, thanks Ray. I was hoping the trays with water and misting the moss once or twice a week would suffice. Maybe not. I wanted to avoid a humidifier and was hoping the trays would help. I might have to go the NZ sphagnum or a preserved moss...
     
  4. Aug 14, 2019 #4

    Daniel Herrera

    Daniel Herrera

    Daniel Herrera

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Central Coast California
    Hello,

    I grow my paphs in Orchiata and use sphagnum moss as topping. All of my plants are then placed in a tray with more sphagnum moss. I keep the moss in the tray constantly moist to keep high humidity around the plants. This was a suggestion by @tnyr5 so he might be able to tell you more.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Aug 14, 2019 #5

    likespaphs

    likespaphs

    likespaphs

    some call me brian

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    nope, unfortunately that won't be adequate. even misting it daily won't do. maybe a terrarium or decorative wardian case for your desk? air movement is important so you may need a little fan for it too
     
  6. Aug 14, 2019 #6

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    mad scientist

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    2,217
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johnson City, TN
    I am growing Neofinetias on my office windowsill. I will probably try Tolumnia as well... the idea is to grow species that have roots that are OK with drying out between watering. I have some companion plants around the orchids to help maintain some humidity. I guess lithophytes like rupicolous Laelia might also enjoy the windowsill... In any case, I'm not worried about a moss covering over the roots. I mist the plants daily and every other day they will be watered but mostly to have some water in the plant tray. I have LECA in the tray to boost evaporation.

    At home I also don't have a moss covering over the bark. Enough humidity is retained in the pots for the roots to be happy.

    Happy growing!
     
  7. Aug 15, 2019 #7

    xiphius

    xiphius

    xiphius

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    30
    I have used live moss as a top dressing (over bark mix) on pretty much all of my paphs and phrags for years now (for plant health, not decoration). They all seem to love it. That's the good news. The bad news - this isn't going to work on an office windowsill unless you set up a mostly enclosed terrarium to keep humidity really high (think 80-100%). In order for the moss to be happy, you can't ever really let it truly dry out. If you do, it will take several weeks to limp back.

    Misting daily (with high enough humidity) might be enough. But weekly will not be sufficient. Mine are in a grow tent with an automated misting system and get misted thoroughly ~5 times daily.

    If you just want it for decorative purposes, then preserved sheet moss could be an idea, but I would advise caution here. Since it isn't "live" when it gets wet and stays wet due to watering, it will probably have a tendency to get moldy (and will also stifle air circulation to the roots). If you let it stay dry enough to not get moldy, then you probably won't be providing a paph with sufficient water to be happy. Might be better to just go straight bark mix without a top coating and then add the air plants to spruce it up a bit. A few accent rocks on the surface of your pot could also be an idea to add a decorative element that is culture-neutral :).
     
  8. Aug 15, 2019 #8

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you all for the advice. It looks like i will need to go another route. Even with a moss that has roots that can dry out, I couldn't guarantee being able to mist it daily (or convince my co-worker to while I am away).

    Preserved sheet moss may work in this situation if I am careful, but yes, I would be a bit concerned with lack of air.

    Would preserved reindeer moss be an option (both natural and the dyed green kind)? I have always liked the look of reindeer moss. I like the air plants and rock idea too. I would need to find some air plants that would be happy without being soaked once a week though (yes, I'm asking a lot :)). Maybe a combo of all three?

    And one last thought. If i don't use sphagnum as a top dressing [go with reindeer or another green moss instead (I like the looks better for my office)], will it be OK to throw a few strands of sphagnum in the potting mix (paph/phrag mix from repotme.com) to help retain some moisture? Again, i am a notorious underwaterer....
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  9. Aug 15, 2019 #9

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    And Tyrone- Leca clay will help increase evaporation in a tray? I thought leca held onto water? I have never used it so I am clueless....
     
  10. Aug 15, 2019 #10

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    TyroneGenade

    mad scientist

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    2,217
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johnson City, TN
    LECA wicks water. It also increases the surface area by which the water can evaporate.
     
  11. Aug 15, 2019 #11

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Meagan Myers

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ah, Ok. I won't admit to what I do for a living. Ha. 3nj3z35.jpg
     

Share This Page



arrow_white